Memorandum submitted by The Patients Association (H&SC 30)


The Patients Association is concerned to learn that the Health in Pregnancy Grant proposed in the Bill will penalise mothers giving birth to twins and multiple births. We wish to add our support to the following points which the Committee is urged to consider:


1.   Multiple birth pregnancies often result in low birth weight babies. Low birth weight babies are at greater risk of ill health later in life with consequent avoidable costs to the NHS.


2.   The eligibility criteria for the Grant include nutrition advice. This advice is essential for mothers of multiple births in order to avoid the costs and dangers in 1. above.  


3.   The additional needs of mothers expecting multiple births are properly recognised in the payment calculations of the Sure Start Maternity Grant and Healthy Start. The precedent of these grants should be extended therefore to the Health in Pregnancy Grant.


4.   Given that both Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit currently fail to recognise these needs, it is even more important that mothers of multiple births receive appropriate nutritional advice and additional grant during their pregnancy.


January 2008